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(Culture #6)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  12,470 ratings  ·  462 reviews

On a backwards world with six moons, an alert spy reports on the doings of one Dr. Vosill, who has mysteriously become the personal physician to the king, despite being a foreigner and, even more unthinkably, a woman. Vosill has more enemies than she first realizes. But then she also has more remedies to hand than those who wish her ill can ever guess.

Elsewhere, in another

Paperback, 343 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Pocket Books (first published June 1998)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,470 ratings  ·  462 reviews

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Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must preface my review with my surprise. I just took a look at the responses to this book from my goodreads friends and the star ratings are only fair to middling. It makes me wonder if my love for this book is, perhaps, a little misguided. Either that or I am a more discerning reader than everyone else. Yeah ... that's probably it ;) So here's my review:

Iain M. Banks' books are packed with big, way-out-there moments. Grandmas explode, people wake up in rooms full of shit, ships run intentiona
Kevin Kelsey
After finishing this, Inversions is now tied with The Player of Games as my favorite in the Culture series.
It’s definitely the most subtle of the Culture novels so far; so subtle in fact, that I fear a lot of readers aren’t grasping the scope of what it is about. I would suggest only reading this one after having read a few other culture novels prior and in close succession; it is very, very subtle but absolutely brilliant.

Told from the perspective of two very different characters, one a persona
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
Rather than focus on a grand scale space-opera, I think Banks wanted to dump us into a backwater gravity-well and let us have a sense of what it would be like to tour as a doctor, perhaps Culture trained, among the crude creatures of a Medieval period.

Mind you, I didn't quite pick up any definitive proof of actual Culture interference, mind you, because our PoV is actually from the apprentice to the good doctor who hailed from foreign parts, but I think the guess is a very good one, anyway. :)

Luke Harris
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
*Spoilers* Banks' Culture series so far has been, what I will refer to as, hard sci-fi. Gargantuan megaships which house billions of people, immensely advanced Artificial Intelligences independently managing entire worlds, tiny drones with the ability to kill several people in a matter of seconds, Orbitals 3million kilometres in diameter, ships capable of travelling at hundreds of thousands of times the speed of light, tiny weapons with enormous destructive capabilities which can shrink down to ...more
Resulta irónico que el libro con el que más he disfrutado (de los leídos por ahora) de La Cultura, no contenga elementos de ciencia ficción, salvo en cierta parte del libro del que no se puede hablar para no descubrir el misterio a futuros lectores. Ha sido refrescante encontrarse con el mejor Banks tras la pequeña decepción que supuso 'Excesión', el anterior libro de La Cultura. 'Inversiones' es una novela más literaria, alejada de toda la parafernalia y pirotecnia propia de la space-opera, de ...more
I have to say, first off, that every single review I saw of this book online (even ones as short as a single line) gives away something you are not supposed to know until the very end, if you figure it out at all. These details that they spoil are not exactly essential to the plot, but one was spoiled for me (and I think the novel lost some of its tautness as a result) and the one that was not spoiled I was very glad wasn't spoiled because it was a minor mystery I spent the first half of the nov ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inversions, like so many of Banks' books, is slippery. Every time I think I have a hold on it, it slithers out of my grasp. It's this element that keeps drawing me back in to the Culture series, as strange and frustrating as it often is. I keep trying different techniques to pin these books down, thinking at some point I will find the right angle from which to sneak up on them. I hope I never find it.

The plot of Inversions is fairly straightforward - the book is really two interweaved novellas
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this so much. It's my last virgin read of A Culture book except for the short story collection, and I'm glad it was the last because I found it be the best kind of fairy tale. It actually has no direct mention of the Culture and takes place on your typical medieval fantasy world where women are secondary citizens. There are 2 separate stories taking place in different parts of the world, each one told in alternating chapters, but the narrator of one section tells us on the prologue they ...more
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book by Iain [M] Banks, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. It's in his "Culture" series of novels, but that's only shown by a couple of minor details. It's fully a stand-alone novel - sci-fi with a fantasy feel to it. I stayed up late-late-late last night finishing this - it was a GREAT book. I was really impressed by the way all the little clues fit together... without giving it all away too soon!
Megan Baxter
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had major problems feeling connected to the last Culture novel I read, It felt like the author was holding things too close to his chest. Banks didn't seem to want to let us into his world very far, and so kept the door only open a crack. I am pleased to say that I felt no such sense of being on the outside in Inversions. This was much more welcoming, a more generous exploration of a world on the edge of being subtly interfered with.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the ch
In this volume of Culture's series, the author gives a hint on historical fiction genre. Nice touch.

4* Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1)
4* The Player of Games (Culture, #2)
4* Use of Weapons (Culture, #3)
4* The State of the Art (Culture, #4)
4* Excession (Culture, #5)
4* Inversions (Culture, #6)
TR Look to Windward (Culture, #7)
TR Matter (Culture, #8)
TR Surface Detail (Culture #9)
TR The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture #10)
Ben Babcock
It has been too long since a visit to Iain M. Banks’ Culture universe. Inversions has really just made me want to go back and re-read the other novels now. And I may very well just do that this summer, because why not?

For those who aren’t familiar with the premise to this one: the Culture is not mentioned by name at all in Inversions. On its surface, this is a split narrative on a pre-industrial planet. Alternating chapters follow Vosill, foreign doctor to the King Quience of Haspidus, and DeWar
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: culture, sci-fi
Inversions although being a culture book is quite different from its predecessors because the book is setup in a medieval background, and throughout the book the culture lurks in the shadow. The story progresses through pov of two protagonist namely the doctor Vosell and the bodyguard Dewar. But the twist is that we are never given their direct pov but instead the narrator is Oelph who acts as an assistant to the doctor. The book keeps building to an exciting end, but the although the twist in t ...more
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Un libro estupendo pero que sorprenderá por la serie a la que pertenece.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción (muy al fondo y porque pertenece a La Cultura).

Lo que nos cuenta. La doctora Vosill es el médico del rey de Haspide, pero aunque su práctica es inmaculada no es del agrado de muchos nobles de la corte, celosos de sus múltiples conocimientos en distintas disciplinas y que sospechan de sus orígenes poco claros en un territorio muy lejano. DeWar es el celoso guardaespaldas del líder del protectorado de
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My love for the fiction of Iain M. Banks continues unabated. While this is counted among the Culture books, it's a most unusual one. In fact, a reader unfamiliar with the Culture could very well enjoy this as a standard fantasy novel, albeit an unusually witty and well-written fantasy novel. That said, I think having read at least one Culture books is a prerequisite for fully enjoying Inversions. I almost wish I had been able to read this book without knowing about the Culture connections, since ...more
Inversions is about perspective. And individuality. And oppression. And injustice. And interference. And romantic love. And familial love. And political systems. And political games. And jealousy. And betrayal. And revenge. And fear of the unknown. And faith in the unknown. And embracing the unknowable.

Inversions is about so many worthy ideas, so many ideas that deserve serious consideration, and the book tackles each idea in ways that are both insightful and enjoyable for the reader. Yet this i
Erik Graff
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Banks' fans
Recommended to Erik by: John Elkin
Shelves: literature
It is remarkable that this novel is counted as sf and as part of Banks' Culture books. It is also a bit of a giveaway. The setting of the book corresponds to the late medieval, albeit with the human characters on a planet in a binary system with no sense of an earthly background. The one great exception to the period is the mysterious doctor, a woman who holds quite modern ideas of medicine and is capable of certain mysterious feats which suggest her Culture origin. Other than this, however, the ...more
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Jau pagājis gandrīz gads, kopš iepriekšējās Kultūras sērijas grāmatas izlasīšanas. Nolēmu atsākt lasīt sēriju un ķerties klāt grāmatai, kura pēc būtības bija pamatā manai nelasīšanai. Kaut kur uzzināju, ka šī grāmata ir vis nesaistītākā no visām sērijas grāmatām, jo Kultūras civilizācijā tajā tiek pieminēta tikai garāmejot.

Nomaļā planētā, kuru apspīd seši mēneši, spiegs raksta ziņojumu savam saimniekam par kādu dakteri Vosill, viņa dīvainā kārtā ir kļuvusi par vietējā karaļa ārstu un uzticamības
My first review of 2012! I am so far behind on reviews, it's insane!

Anyway. I didn't like Inversions quite as much as Banks' other work; this one was more slow-moving and sedate, and only really turned to Banks' perfect break-neck pace towards the very end. So do be prepared for a slow pace, mainly milling around daily life at court; nothing much actually happens, and it's mainly about character exploration, about fallible narrators, about perspective, about piecing together the puzzle and wonde
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I've been going through Banks' The Culture series and, despite their wide acclaim, found myself strangely unmoved. However awesome and amazing it would be to live in a post-scarcity world with Minds and drones and 400-years of life, such a setting also highlights the shallow pettiness that results from being essentially carefree from inception to "death". This may be meaningful in a philosophical sense, but doesn't make for engaging reading, at least not for me.

I've found that my enjoyment of th
Juliane Kunzendorf
Luke and I talk about how much we enjoyed the book on the SFBRP #224. It feels very much like a medieval criminal story with culture background - so pretty much the perfect mix for me!

If you haven't read any of the culture series books yet, you might enjoy this book, but you will miss all references to the overall series - which I think would be a pity because this is what the book is all about.
Nějak mi to sci-fi ani fantasy moc nejde a nejede, ale geniální překlad Viktora Janiše mi to čtení usnadnil. Kvůli překladu tři hvězdičky, obsah jen dvě.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before picking this up, i started and dropped like 4-ish books and this is the one that actually stuck. It's now ranked highly on my list of the "Culture" series books i've read so far for the clever manner in which the story was structured in relation to the general series-verse.

To fully appreciate the subtle nuances and hidden gems in it, i think it's better to have read at least some other Culture books, not because of any interlinked story but to appreciate the quiet hints dropped in it. De
Julie S
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't love this as much as some of the Culture novels. It has more of a fantasy tone than the usual space opera, taking place on a backward planet that almost seems medieval. There are two narratives that aren't really related to each other though they take place in the same period of time.
Andrii Mykhailov
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed reading this one - another argument to read more Culture novels :)
Feb 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inversions is the Culture book that trips you up - if it didn't say A Culture Novel on the front cover, you could be forgiven for spending most of it thinking it was one of Iain M. Banks's stand alone genre outings.

Two foreigners have risen to prominence in neighbouring countries on a low-tech (or low fantasy, if you prefer) world. One is a trusted bodyguard, the other a doctor in spite of local misogyny. Each has plenty to teach those who will listen to them, and each has a mission - which may
El relato de dos historias entrecruzadas, la de la doctora Vosill y el guardaespaldas DeWar en un mundo que guarda cierta relación con la saga de La Cultura. El enfoque de Banks es más sentimental que en otras ocasiones y el marco de la narración, un mundo tardo medieval en el que están a punto de desarrollarse reformas sociales y económicas tras la catastrófica caída de un imperio.

Un relato sobre la lealtad, el engaño y lo relativo de los puntos de vista que se pueden tener sobre la valía de l
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zvláštní fantasy příběh, vlastně dva příběhy, které postupně splývají. Hrdinkou prvního z nich je tajemná králova lékařka ze vzdálené cizí země, v tom druhém je hlavní postavou osobní strážce diktátora. Oba z nich bojují jak s neustálými úklady, tak se svými vlastními city a oba nakonec v tomto boji prohrávají. Velmi dobré, doporučuji.
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #224.
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Science Fiction A...: * Book 6: Inversions 6 31 Nov 01, 2015 08:00PM  
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Iain M. Banks is a pseudonym of Iain Banks which he used to publish his Science Fiction.

Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, li

Other books in the series

Culture (10 books)
  • Consider Phlebas
  • The Player of Games (Culture, #2)
  • Use of Weapons
  • The State of the Art (Culture, #4)
  • Excession (Culture, #5)
  • Look to Windward (Culture, #7)
  • Matter (Culture, #8)
  • Surface Detail (Culture #9)
  • The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture #10)
“Truth, I have learned, differs for everybody. Just as no two people ever see a rainbow in exactly the same place - and yet both most certainly see it, while the person seemingly standing right underneath it does not see it at all - so truth is a question of where one stands, and the direction one is looking in at the time.” 17 likes
“One believed what one was told to believe, what it made sense to believe. Unless one was a foreigner, of course, or a philosopher.” 3 likes
More quotes…